We all know just how sadly irrelevant the results can be at Google. The reason for this is that Google has difficulty distinguishing the intended relevance of a search. As a result, search results often include results from web sites that may only include the words searched without actually proving relevant to your needs.
The best example of this that I have seen was provided by the Associated Press at Canada.com:
“Let’s say, for example, you’re curious about accommodations in France and enter a search for ‘Paris Hilton.’
“Google recognizes this as a search in the category of “Regional-Europe-Travel and Tourism-Lodging-Hotels” but still produces page after page with links about celebrity socialite Paris Hilton and her exploits. That’s because Google’s engine ranks pages largely based on how many other sites link to them, sending the most popular pages to the top.”
This is a rather annoying feature of Google’s and one which I have no doubt is a source of constant headaches amongst the Google Staff. Now enter Grokker, a software search solution that combines the search results from six search engines (Yahoo!, MSN, AltaVista, Wisenut, Teoma and FAST) into a set of highly relevant graphical results. To continue the example from above:
“If you run the search on Grokker, however, the resulting circle shows all the possible categories of information the Internet offers on a search for “Paris Hilton” - including reviews, maps and on-line booking sites for the Hilton hotel in Paris, which are all but buried in the Google rankings. Now you’ve much more quickly found not what is popular among Internet gawkers, but what is genuinely useful to you.”
In January 2004, Groxis will be adding a plug-in for Grokker customers to add Google’s 3 billion page database as a search option. The plug-in will allow up to 1000 free Google searches per day. This cooperative agreement between Google and Groxis is largely a market test. When asked, Google’s spokesman Nathan Tyler declined to comment on the Grokker technology. Is Google working on a similary technology for its own search engine? Who knows… Nathan Tyler certainly would not say.
In 2004 Grokker will also be used at the Library of Congress, on some news sites, various US school districts (currently Chicago, and Los Angeles) and the University of Nevada.